CONCORD, N.H. — Hillary Clinton’s got until South Carolina to prove this is all a fluke. Bernie Sanders has until the end of March to prove it’s not.If Sanders is truly going to become a Barack Obama-style Clinton-slayer of 2016, he knows he’s going to need to start racking up Obama-level support among non-white voters, and quickly, because the Democratic primary is about to come down to race.
The Sanders campaign understands this, which is why the first campaign stop after his blowout victory in New Hampshire is a breakfast meeting Wednesday with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem’s iconic Sylvia’s restaurant.
Sanders, who represents the overwhelmingly white state of Vermont in the Senate, has yet to prove he has the ability to win minority voters — a critical component of the Democratic Party coalition. He’s said he’s confident non-white voters would come to him once they heard his message — and aides consistently repeat that claim – but his close defeat in Iowa and landslide win New Hampshire, two states that are just as white as Vermont, haven’t answered any of the questions.
The next two early states to vote, Nevada and South Carolina, have much larger Latino and African American populations, which means he no longer has the luxury of appealing to his base of white liberals.
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